Why do emulation? Quoting the e-mail message:
- It preserves and permits access to each digital artifact in its original form and format; it may be the only viable approach to preserving digital artifacts that have significant executable and/or interactive behavior.
- It can preserve digital artifacts of any form or format by saving the original software environments that were used to render those artifacts. A single emulator can preserve artifacts in a vast range of arbitrary formats without the need to understand those formats, and it can preserve huge corpuses without ever requiring conversion or any other processing of individual artifacts.
- It enables the future generation of surrogate versions of digital artifacts directly from their original forms, thereby avoiding the cumulative corruption that would result from generating each such future surrogate from the previous one.
- If all emulators are written to run on a stable, thoroughly-specified "emulation virtual machine" (EVM) platform and that virtual machine can be implemented on any future computer, then all emulators can be run indefinitely.
Technorati tag: Digital Preservation